The idea that you should follow your dreams is ingrained in many of us from a young age. Most of us will have heard the quote, “If you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” As a Career Coach, I think this kind of advice can do job seekers at all ages a bit of a disservice. Sure, it’s nice to think that passion can overshadow hard work—even occasional unpleasantness, but just ask anyone who’s ever been married if this is true long term! It takes a LOT more than passion to be successful.
In an age where we get whatever we want instantaneously, Career Success is still relatively elusive. I would suggest that it’s a better investment to think about your strengths and a variety of ways to apply them as opposed to trying to determine how you can land your dream job in a niche industry. If you have only one version of success, you’ll put severe limitations on yourself and on your ability to achieve it. If you have a degree in Communications or Marketing and you want to be a Marketing Executive at a retail company—you’re limiting your definition of success to a hole-in-one as opposed to landing on the green. Sure, it’s possible to get a bulls-eye, but if you broaden your idea of success so that it includes other avenues as well, you’ll have a bigger bulls-eye to hit.
Once you understand what you’re good at, it’s time to think about how to broaden your definition of success. Sure, you want to have control, you want to be admired and revered by others, and you probably want to make as much money as you can—who doesn’t? For most of us, success usually involves the same things: esteem, power, and money. Since we all want these things, they’re going to be a little harder to achieve. Expect for work to be hard—even unpleasant part of the time. Seek out opportunities to do the “dirty work” because this is where you prove your value as an employee. When you create value you automatically increase your potential for career success.
Instead of looking for your dream job, I would encourage the new generation of job seekers entering the workforce to zero-in on your marketable strengths and then try to seek out an opportunity to work with someone who inspires you as a leader. Don’t worry about the industry you’re in or the label of your job title. The best way to achieve success is to spend time around other successful people.
There are not enough glamorous jobs out there. The real value to employers is having people who can fix problems, clean up a mess (both literally and figuratively), keep people happy, and bring a note of positivity to the workplace. The secret to career success is understanding that the dirty work never ends—it just changes forms. I’d much rather hire a positive person who was able and willing to do the most undesirable part of my job, as opposed to someone who wanted to do the most enjoyable parts of my job. If you’re ready to begin your career, pitch yourself as someone who is ready to jump in, tackle the most unpleasant part of the job, and make life easier for everyone else. This is where your value is to employers. Delicate, high maintenance people need not apply!
This blog is written in support of Job Action Day 2016
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